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Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension. Research shows prenatal massage therapy can help reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, relieve muscle aches and joint pains, and improve labour outcomes and newborn health.
Twenty-six pregnant women were assigned to pre-natal massage therapy or a relaxation therapy group for five weeks. Only the massage therapy group reported reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain by the last day of the study. In addition, urinary stress hormone levels decreased for the massage therapy group with fewer complications during labour and their infants had fewer post-natal complications.
(Field T, et al., J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Mar, 20 (1):31-8)